Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
We Can't Do It Without You!  
     
Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives
   
 
   Featured Views  
 

Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
 
 
Sex Is Banned From the National Agenda
Published on Wednesday, August 16, 2000 in the San Francisco Chronicle
Sex Is Banned From the National Agenda
by Rob Sullivan
 
SO CONGRESSWOMAN Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, was finally forced to move her Tuesday night fund-raiser at the Playboy Mansion because Democratic Party bigwigs were afraid the Hefner connection would sully their image. Isn't this all a little silly? And just a wee bit hypocritical, too?

The Demos don't seem to blanche and cover their mortal souls with fig leaves when they hold $50,000-a-plate fund-raising dinners with CEOs of companies that bar unions from their hotels, pollute rivers, build bombs, use sex to sell anything from toothpaste to tractors, or create movies that glorify teenage lust and/or sickening doses of violence and mayhem. We don't see either party quivering in their boots when lobbyists of every stripe wine and dine them, schmoozing members of Congress into frequently voting against the public good and for the corporate good.

Where are the horrified gasps and overly sober statements of concern when our armed forces are dispatched to every corner of the globe to protect the interests of Big Oil (the Middle East) and Big Banana (Central America)? Neither of the major political parties gets terrifically animated when it's revealed that some 44 million people are living without health insurance in this great nation of ours. But, lo and behold, open the doors of the Playboy Mansion and suddenly there's a very grave issue of global magnitude.

And what exactly was the problem? Hugh Hefner's pocketbook has opened freely to help fill the coffers of Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore

--the pipe- smoking hedonist reportedly has contributed some $1,500 to Gore's campaign.

Not exactly a donation that will sew up the election for the Dems, but enough to raise the eyebrows of the pundits on CNN's ``Crossfire'' and preachers from Bob Jones University. Plenty of other groups have used the mansion for their fund-raisers, including such politically correct organizations as the National Women's Political Caucus, the Hollywood Women's Political Committee and Rock the Vote. Clearly, there must be something more alluring about Hefner's pad than simply the potential sighting of big breasts and curvaceous bottoms.

So why all the alarm? Obviously, there's the Clinton factor -- Gore and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, are doing their darndest to scrub the taint of Clinton's sexual fiascoes from the image of their party. And Hefner's parties are not exactly the right ingredient to help in that effort. But, come on, isn't Playboy magazine and its attendant industries an accepted part of American culture by now? Doesn't every schoolboy in America have a secret part of their heart dedicated to the titillating pages of Hefner's rag? Hasn't Hugh presented some of the best fiction of this nation in his pages and hasn't he consistently fought for the sacred privileges of the First Amendment?

What's the big deal? Sex.

That's the big deal. This is the national bugaboo which dare not speak its name. From Nathaniel Hawthorne's ``Scarlet Letter'' to the liaisons of Marilyn and JFK to Monica and Bill frolicking in the Oval Office, sexuality has been America's fiercest enemy. It's our own carnal appetites that terrify us. And our appetites are fed continuously by the advertising and entertainment businesses, businesses which will cross any boundary to market and sell their products. The Republicans hinted at it with their squeaky-clean convention and their refusal to even discuss the sexual orientation of Mary Cheney, Dick Cheney's openly gay 31-year-old daughter. Now with their treatment of Congresswoman Sanchez, the Dems have made it official: sex has been barred from the national agenda.

But they'd better watch out: as Hugh Hefner knows so well (he should, he's been making a good living at it for almost 50 years), when the mystery, confusion and beauty of sexuality are denied their natural and rightful place in the national psyche, they have a curious way of becoming the focus of attention, whether we like it or not.

Rob Sullivan studies the national psyche from Los Angeles.

2000 San Francisco Chronicle

###

Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
 
     
 
 

CommonDreams.org
Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.
Independent, non-profit newscenter since 1997.

Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives

To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.